Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, in order that those who come in may see the light. Luke 8:16

In Jesus’ physical life, lamps were very small—most household lamps would fit in the palm of a hand. They did not use kerosene (non-existent), but a simple wick that absorbed olive oil or something similar. The lamp would burn for a few hours as it provided a dim light that enabled people to move about a room at night. One did not light a lamp to cover it or put it at the lowest possible elevation. It was placed on a lampstand (usually about 4 feet high) near the center of the room. With that small light, people could see to move about without bumping into things or tripping.

Jesus’ point—a lamp is lit to provide light. If light is not wanted, do not light the lamp. A lamp is lit to allow people to see—so use the light to let people see!

People are Christians because they wish to be Christians! Such people have decided that Christianity is the way to live. They are not Christians to hide the fact that they follow Jesus. They are focused on the light he provides in order to avoid the pitfalls of life.

We do not “trick” a man or woman into following Jesus Christ. We convince people that life is best lived by avoiding unnecessary bruises and falls! We show people that following Jesus allows him to be our light, and that is the best way to move about life.

Will following Jesus remove all the dangers of the blackened room we know as life? No! It only removes the unnecessary bruises and stumbles. When we understand that there is more to life than the “now of darkness,” we realize there are some unavoidable hurts that are worth the pain. Pain resulting from faith in Jesus produces rewards worthy of the pain! There is an enormous difference in pain worth the suffering and unnecessary, useless pain! All decisions/acts have consequences. Worthy suffering and unnecessary pain stand in stark contrast!

Apply Jesus’ example in this way. Christians want to be Christians. Why? Christianity guides us as we navigate life. Jesus’ light teaches us how to live—now and later!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 25 October 2009

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